West of the Moon

Jonathan Lewis Nasaw, Author Franklin Watts $0 (212p) ISBN 978-0-531-15064-1
This is the heartrending story of Danny Dawson's fifth summer, when chemotherapy makes him bald and sick and doesn't arrest his metastasizing malignancy. His mother, Anne, puts an end to the therapy, leaving the hospital for the familial warmth and love of Casa de Vida, a halfway house near San Francisco for ""roomers with tumors.'' Tom Straw, the Casa's tall and gentle nurse who survived Vietnam to lose a leg to cancer, is a fast and snug addition to the Dawson family. Soon, though, Danny's estranged father tries to restore Danny to chemo, forcing Tom and the Dawsons to retreat to a hospice hideaway deep in the redwood forests, determined to make Danny's last summer a peaceful one. He rides a horse that summer to a field west of the moon, holds a baseball signed by The Babe, and buries his cherished stuffed Penguin, Pengenna. All the while his strength is waning, until the summer comes to a poignant and unforgettable end. This is an outstanding tale of love and living, told in a gentle and lyric voice that never falters. As Anne confesses of David Copperfield, which she reads at Danny's bedside, ``You get so deep into it it's like you forget it's a book.'' So it is, too, with Nasaw's (Easy Walking) sterling new novel. Literary Guild Editor's Corner selection. (October 1)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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